Saturday, March 10, 2018

What do you stand for?

Life has a way of shaking us up. Sometimes we ask for it, sometimes we don't.  Either way, it's during times like these that we second guess what we're doing and why we're here.  There's no easy answer but it all comes down to our core values, which will never shake no matter the situation.

What do I stand for?  These are my top 10:
1. Faith
2. Happiness
3. Laughter
4. Love
5. Family
6. Close friendships
7. Learning8. Nutritious food
9. Exercise
10. Hope for an even brighter tomorrow

What about you? What do you stand for?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Strawberries n Cream Protein & Collagen Shake

Valentine's Day (also known as Singles Awareness Day) is either a happy day, unhappy day, or just any other day. No matter where you fall, it's another day of eating :)  Let's celebrate with a pink drink of deliciousness that also packs a protein, collagen, & vegetable punch... because gainz and smooth skin/hair/nails await, whether you're single or coupled!

Strawberries n Cream Protein & Collagen Shake

1.5 c unsweetened almond or cashew milk
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use Primal Kitchen Vanilla Coconut Primal Fuel)
1 scoop of collagen peptides (I use Vital Proteins brand)
1 c frozen organic strawberries
1/2 c frozen riced caulifower

1. Place all ingredients in a NutriBullet (or other electric blender)
2. Blend until combined and smooth

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Skinny Gluten-Free VDay Cookies

Nothing breaks my heart more than childhood cancer.  When I heard about the Good Cookies Food Bloggers' Valentine's Event, I enthusiastically signed up without blinking an eyelash.

Food bloggers everywhere are doing this event is because we want to make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer. Did you know that cancer is the #1 cause of death of children by disease in the U.S.? There are 40,000 U.S. children actively battling cancer right now. With less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute's budget going to all childhood cancer combined, I knew it was important for me to get involved. Help us make a difference by donating to Cookies for Kids' Cancer! Our goal is to raise at least $3000. Because these three companies: Dixie Crystals, Land O’Lakes and Mediavine have each pledged to match our donations raised through this campaign up to $3000!!! Currently, we have raised: $1,515 we are a little over HALF WAY towards our $3000 goal, will you help us with a donation today? Every little bit helps! Donate here.

Since this is a Valentine's themed event, I decided to whip up a healthier version of a paleo/glutenfree cookie with a Cupid-esque flair.  This recipe minimizes sugar and butter, substituting applesauce instead.  Applesauce substitutes are pretty tricky, especially with cookies (it's more forgiving in cakes), but I wanted to find a way to cut fat/calories without sacrificing taste and texture.


Skinny Gluten-Free VDay Cookies

2 tbsp butter (melted)
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp honey
1/3 c coconut sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups cashew flour (blanched almond flour will also work)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chocolate pieces of choice (I used VDay m&m's to get the desired color)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Combine the wet ingredients: butter, applesauce, honey, sugar, egg white, & vanilla
3. Combine all the dry ingredients: cashew flour, baking soda, & salt
4. Add the dry to the wet and stir to combine
5. Stir in the chocolate
6. Form the dough into cookies and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Note that paleo/gluten-free cookies don't expand like traditional cookies
7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until edges are slightly toasted

Yield: 1 dozen

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Bob's Red Mill vs. Trader Joe's: Blanched Almond Flour Debate

There are two new blanched almond flour products on the market!  Blanched almond flour is ground almonds without the skins, which makes it suitable for baking and is especially great in gluten-free and paleo baking.

Bob's Red Mill already offers blanched almond flour, but it got much criticism for being too coarse for baking.  So, they recently came out with a "super fine" almond flour. Trader Joe's already offers almond meal (i.e.,  has the skins on), which is not good for baking. They recently came out with blanched almond flour that is "extra fine".

I put them to the test using Against All Grain's (gluten-free/paleo) chocolate chip cookies recipe.

Both flours looked identical to the naked eye and had the same batter mixing experience. After baking, cookie texture was the same across both flours. As for the rest...

Trader Joe's
Tasted like the real thing
Did not puff up while baking
Final product had some cracks
Cost $7.99 at my local TJ

Bob's Red Mill:
Nutty flavor, which would help a chocolate walnut / macadamia cookie (can eliminate the extra nuts)
Puffed up while baking but deflated once out of the oven
Final product had fewer cracks
Cost $9.59 at my local grocery store

***WINNER***: Trader Joe's by a landslide!!! TJ dominated the flavor. The cost was a nice bonus. Cracks were not a big deal.

Caveat: My family gobbled down all the cookies and liked both types (albeit TJ a little more) so you can't go wrong with either brand. Both are much better than using a coarser flour (e.g., TJ cashew flour circa 2015) which yields the right flavor but wrong texture.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Danielle Walker's "Celebrations" cookbook review

There are a TON of cookbooks on the market today for literally every cuisine, cooking method, diet, health concern, personal preference, etc., out there.  Looking specifically at paleo and gluten-free cookbooks, what does it take to stand out?  Unbeatable flavors, innovative recipes, ease of cooking, and perhaps beautiful photos that make you salivate.

Danielle Walker has a track record of delivering just that with her Against All Grain website and two cookbooks (AAG, Meals Made Simple).  I found her in 2012 when I began my own paleo journey and was doing quick internet searches to find recipes.  Every (free) recipe I tried from her blog were just delicious.  When I bought her first two cookbooks, I literally fell off my chair after each recipe I tried because they were just so freaking delicious.  I didn't miss grains one bit!!  Earlier this year, I found out that Danielle was releasing her third cookbook Celebrations on Sept 27. I was so excited to have more tasty recipes from a fellow foodie whom I have come to trust, respect, and admire.  When I made it onto Danielle's cookbook launch team, I couldn't have been any more honored or excited!

As you may have guessed, the premise of the cookbook is grain-free recipes that fall under various holidays or celebrations all year long (e.g., New Year's Eve, Easter, Mother/Father's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas).  I received the cookbook a few weeks before public release and literally could not stop cooking from it!  My family kept raving about every single recipe I made, which is a testament to Danielle's foodie awesomeness.

In her latest cookbook, Danielle has truly recreated grain-free versions of old favorites and creatively came up with brand new ones.  As a bonus, the photos are simply gorgeous to look at!  While linked to particular holidays, the recipes can be enjoyed at any time of the year. The recipe index in the back is particularly helpful for seeing all the recipes available, broken down by meal type (breakfast, salads, soups, sides, main events, desserts, drinks).  Furthermore, each recipe comes with helpful "tidbits" and "make ahead" tricks.  Plus, the book lays flat- no need to find a heavy paperweight!!

As for the negatives... many recipes call for an electric mixer or blender.  As someone who hates cleaning, I mixed the ingredients by hand in a bowl & wooden spoon, and they all came out just fine :)  Also, many recipes require ingredients that aren't easily available in traditional grocery stores (e.g., cacao butter, raw cashew butter, light-colored raw honey).  This is a common challenge in paleo cooking and you may have to take a trip to Whole Foods or place an order from Amazon.  However, I've subbed other ingredients (e.g., roasted cashew butter, regular honey) and it turned out fine.

Whether you are paleo, gluten-free, clean eating, or simply just want to eat scrumptious homemade food, I wholeheartedly recommend this cookbook!!!  Now, let's see what's in store in Celebrations...

Carnitas on tostones with persimmon salad and "my heart beets for you" smoothie!
(NOTES: Pulverized the plantains in my food processor instead of frying & smashing.  No persimmons available yet so subbed a peach instead)

Fork-and-knife ribs, skillet "corn" bread, and heirloom tomato / watermelon / basil salad!
(NOTE: No heirloom tomatoes around here so subbed jersey tomatoes. No cast iron skillet so used a regular skillet. The "corn" bread was actually really easy to make and uses basic ingredients that you probably have on hand)

Leftover BBQ sauce from the ribs were used on these split chicken breasts.  Deeeeelish, and such an easy weeknight meal to make! #gainz

Blackened salmon with stone-fruit salsa, served with homemade ginger ale.  Peach cobbler for dessert :P 
(NOTE: My grocery stores do not carry pluots so used a plum instead)


 Mummy dogs (i.e., pigs in a blanket) // Corn dog muffins with baked "beans"!
(NOTE: These mummy dogs are a family favorite and something I really missed when going grain-free. It's soooo nice to finally be able to enjoy them again!  The recipe says to chill the dough for 24 hours.  My family was too impatient so I made this after chilling the dough for only 4 hours. They came out a little chewy - but still yummy - so I am going to try again with chilling it for all 24 hours.  For the baked "beans', I omitted topping it with bacon before putting in the oven.)

BLTA burger on lettuce leaf "bun" with roasted garlic cauliflower mash, mimosa bar, and whoopie pies!
(NOTE: Used turkey instead of beef for the burger.  Cauli mash was a little loose - but still delicious - fresh out of the food processor.  After a night in the refrigerator, it had the consistency of traditional mashed potatoes)

....These pics are just a sampling of all the deliciousness that you will get in her new cookbook.  More to come!! :)

Finally, Danielle is traveling across the USA plus Canada on the Celebrations book tour so feel free to come out and meet her (plus get your cookbooks signed)!  If you're in the NYC area, please join me in welcoming Danielle to the Big Apple on Tuesday, Sept 27 at 6pm at the Barnes & Noble in TriBeCa (97 Warren Street) as she kicks off her book tour!

Meeting Danielle Walker at the Meals Made Simple 2015 book tour stop in NYC :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What's up?! New Chowhound recipe

Ohhh boy, it's been awhile, hasn't it??  The last couple years (!) have been filled with a crazy work schedule, landing a new gig, commuting 4 hours/day, running, CrossFitting, traveling the world, and of course... cooking!!!

Part of my new gig is to support (formerly, which is a community-based food website with over 10 million unique visitors a month.  My role is in a consumer research capacity, but it's nevertheless awesome to work on food content.  You can check out Chowhound's professional, health-conscious recipes here:

As you may know, cauliflower is an incredible substitute for rice (if you haven't tried it yet, you need to!)  In fact, cauliflower fried "rice" is so chock full of vegetables that you won't miss its starchy cousin or need extra fat or protein to fill you up.  I was honored to create a paleo fried rice recipe exclusively for Chowhound:

Let me know what you think!  Let's eat.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Paleo Crepes

Happy March! It is snowing outside as I write this... alas it is still winter.

I was at the mall with my mom & sister when we passed by this cute crepe stand. It was literally a made to order crepe stand, complete with the real cooking stones & gigantic spatulas. The menu was pretty solid- everything from savory to sweet with meat, veggies, fruit, chocolate, and nutella. There was one gluten-free offering, but I decided, hey, why don't I try making it myself?? And a paleo one at that!

My recipe is easy & simple, the way life should be: tapioca flour, milk of choice, & eggs. Seriously, that was it! They came out pretty good, minus a couple flipping mishaps :P  The crepes were soft, sweet, and delicious, albeit a tad on the stretchy/sticky side due to the tapioca. I filled them with blueberries, literally frozen from a bag and heated on low until the berries burst. I made another batch with the "flipping fails" with sliced bananas & a dash of maple syrup (not pictured here to prevent eye sore), also delicious!

Paleo Blueberry Crepes

Blueberry crepes, minus the flipping mishap on the right :P
1 c tapioca flour
1 c milk of choice
1 egg (or 2 egg whites if you're avoiding yolks)

1. Mix all ingredients together. Tapioca will dissolve into the milk, though it may initially feel clumpy at the bottom.
2. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat. Spray with oil. Pour about 1/3 c batter into the pan. When the bottom has cooked (edges will turn white), carefully flip to the other side and repeat.
3. Transfer to a plate. Repeat the process until all crepes are made.
4. Crepes are ready to be eaten as is, although honey or maple syrup drizzle is recommended. If using a filling, add it down the center of the crepe. I used blueberries and bananas, but the sky is the limit. Fold, roll, or stack and gobble up!